How to safeguard your home against break-ins
As the holiday season approaches so does an increased risk for home burglary.1 While holiday shoppers hide presents in their homes, and homeowners leave town to celebrate the season with family and friends, home burglars are left with prime opportunities for break-ins and theft.
While there’s no way to guarantee your home won’t be the target of an attempted break-in, there are some actions that you can take to help defend your home against burglars.
- Keep doors and windows locked. Ensure that all windows and doors are kept locked at all times – even if you are inside your home or are only leaving briefly. It is also advised that when leaving your home for extended periods of time you keep valuables in a safe or lockbox that is stored out of sight. If you have electronic locks or passcodes to your garage or other points of entry be sure to change them periodically.
- Upgrade your locks. You should consider adding a deadbolt lock to your home’s entry doors, as well as upgrading your home’s patio/sliding glass door lock if you have one. If you have recently moved into a new home, or have had your keys lost or stolen, ensure that you have changed all of the locks.
- Keep your property well-lit. Consider installing motion-sensor lights, or bright exterior lights on a timer, to deter potential thieves from targeting your home.
- Give your home a lived-in look. Unoccupied homes are more likely to be targeted by thieves. Try to keep at least one car in the driveway, or ask a neighbour to park their car in your driveway from time to time. Keep curtains slightly open, ensuring valuables are hidden out of sight, and use a timer to set your interior lights to go on periodically. You should also arrange to have your mail collected every 24 to 72 hours, and to have someone shovel your driveway every few days, depending on the level of snowfall. Try to avoid posting vacation photos or status updates on social media until after you have returned home.
- Install a home-security system. Having a reliable home-security system in place will equip your home with 24/7 monitoring, so if there were an attempted break-in, your home-security provider would act quickly to deter thieves and alert emergency services – even when you’re not there. You may also be eligible for a home insurance discount if your home is protected by a monitored alarm system.
- Know your insurance policy. It’s important to understand your home insurance policy and any limitations you may have on certain categories of items and your deductible. Some home insurance policies cover things like jewelry, art and valuable collectibles, only up to a certain dollar amount. Many homeowners choose to take out additional policies, known as riders or endorsements, to cover these high value items. Riders/endorsements act as self-contained policies within your home insurance policy. They have their own constraints (for example, the amount of coverage) and their own deductibles. Depending on your provider, these endorsements can cover possessions such as engagement rings, fine furs, musical instruments, cash and other named valuables. In the event of a break-in you want to ensure that you have enough coverage to get you back to where you started.
If you have any questions about your existing home policy coverage, or want to inquire about home security discounts, please contact your OTIP insurance broker at 1-888-892-4935.
- CBC News